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If you wish to head to a ‘Garden City‘, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Al Ain will just be perfect! A two hour drive from Dubai will take to this inland oasis city known for its palm grooves and natural springs. From picnicking on the highest peak to soaking in the Emirati culture and dining with lions at the zoo, here are top 5 things you absolutely must do when you are in Al Ain.
1. Al Ain Zoo
Home to some of the rarest birds, mammals and reptiles, the Al Ain zoo is a must-visit when here. Once here, the zoo offers a whole lot of experiences. The Hippo and Crocodile exhibit available on Fridays and Saturdays is one of its kind. Have fun watching the Hippopotamus family dancing underwater or observe crocodiles motions while enjoying the surrounding waterfalls. You can also feed giraffes, dine with lions at the world’s largest man-made African Safari, budgie feed birds or watch the Blue-winged Macaws and Sulphur Crested Cockatoos put up a stunning stage show. Check their website for timings. Last but not least, don’t miss out their African Safari, one of the world’s largest man-made Safaris. You can spot a diverse range of native African animal and plant species including White Rhino, Giraffe and African Lion.
The zoo is loaded with restaurants and cafes, so don’t bother lugging around food. Also, prams are available on rent. The zoo also has a lush green park with a bouncy castle for kids. You can also rent cycles and go cycling around the park.
Address: Al Ain , UAE
Cost: Adults: AED 30, Kids: AED 10. Safari tickets start from AED 200. Entry is free for children under 3 years.
Timings: 9:00 am- 8:00 pm
2. Camel Souk
Get a close encounter with the ship of the desert at the Al Ain camel market. Click a selfie with the camels, attend mock races, and immerse into the Emirati culture. It may be really crowded and slightly pungent, but the experience is totally worth it.
Address: Cattle Market, Zayed Bin Sultan Road
Timings: Everyday 6:00 am – 7:00 pm except Mondays and Friday: 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
3. Jebel Hafeet
Escape the city hustle and head to the highest peak in Al Ain. Seated 1240 meters above sea level, Jebel Hafeet is the second highest peak in the UAE. It is a popular viewpoint to enjoy the winter chill and get a bird’s eye view of the city. The drive up is quite narrow. There are 21 turns, which range from tight hairpins to fast, sweepers, so be very watchful.
And lastly, don’t forget to catch the spectacular sunset from various stop points across the mountains. At the base of Jebel Hafeet is a lush green park called the Green Mubazzarah. This natural oasis has hot springs, lake, swimming pools and chalets. If you are looking for spots to refresh yourself, this one’s worth a look – and a dip. Carry along some knick-knacks, pitch a tent and have a small picnic. You are sure to feel on top of the world! It could get cooler at the top, so it might be a good idea to take your jacket along.
4. Wadi Adventure
If you are an adrenaline junkie, Wadi adventure is a must-go. From zip lining to kayaking, wall climbing, surfing, rafting and swimming, this water theme park has a lot to offer. Wadi also boasts of the world’s longest manmade whitewater channels; of a combined length of 1.1 kilometer and the world’s largest surf pool, making it a regular weekend getaway for all those looking for adventure.
Address: Ain Al Fayda Resort, Near Green Mubazzarah, Jebel Hafeet
Cost: Adult: AED 65, Child: AED 45, Family pass- AED 150, Unlimited adventure package: AED 195. Click here for more details
Contact: +971 3 781 8422
5. Al Ain Palace Museum
Built by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Al Ain museum is one of the oldest in the UAE. The museum opened its doors to visitors in 2001 and continues to celebrate the Emirati culture and tradition. The museum has a Bedouin style architecture and has two main sections on the ethnographic and archaeological aspects of the country, especially around Al Ain. The most visited part of the museum is the room that was devoted to teaching the Holy Quran and Hadith to the residents of the palace. The room has the teaching and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad inscribed on the ceiling. Spend a few hours if you wish to learn more about the country and its rich history.
Address: Al Jahili area, Hessa bint Mohamed Street
Timings: Every day: 8:30 am to 7:30 pm. Mondays and Friday: 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Contact: 055 137 0857